I won't lie. I was starting to give up on humanity. I was feeling generally miserable about recent reports of record amounts of melting ice in the Arctic, Mitt Romney's eternally moronic campaign in the US and our current situation of ever rising economic destruction and damning of human rights by the Coalition.
With full tanks, all systems checked and automatic launch sequence ignited, the European Parliament is ready for lift-off. MEPs achieved much in the first part of 2012 that will make a noticeable difference to the everyday life of ordinary citizens, such as lower roaming charges and killing off the controversial anti-counterfeiting agreement. However, there is much to be done in the months to come.
Portugal may well be the country where the eurozone's solidarity is put to the test. Patience with the Greek government's foot-dragging is wearing thin, but Portugal has done all that has been asked of it.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras won the June general election promising to renegotiate the terms of the Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) that accompany the two EU/IMF bail-out deals (worth a total of €240bn) that Greece has to implement to avoid sovereign default.
There was an arresting BBC documentary recently called 'Wonderland: Young, Bright, and on the Right.' Initially it was quite amusing, depicting, as it did, some late teenage hoorays in the Conservative associations of Oxford and Cambridge wearing jackets and ties, drinking port, and planning their assault on Westminster. Some were appallingly posh.
With the economy persistently weak, there is a growing consensus among economists that premature austerity has done considerable unnecessary damage, and that there is a strong case for slowing fiscal consolidation.
It was great while it lasted. For two weeks the London Olympics provided welcome respite from the economic gloom, political travails and banking scandals that have become a depressingly regular part of the news agenda since the Great Recession of 2008-09.
The Bank of England revised down its growth forecast for 2012 to virtually zero last week, reinforcing the raft of weak economic data released recently. The UK economy has now contracted in 5 out of the last 7 quarters and net growth since the end of the recession in 2009 has been negligible.
Countries which lost competitiveness during the first decade of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) will need to return to sustainable growth through improvements in competitiveness rather than cheap credit. This will take time but will be necessary for the long-term survival of EMU.
In June, a pro-euro Greek government was sworn in, pledging to bring the country's public finances back on track to avoid a 'disorderly' default and eventual Greek euro exit ('Grexit').
The world may be sleepwalking into a third financial crisis and it is not far away. Within the last five years, we have witnessed two global financial crises in banking and in the Eurozone.
Brian Spencer takes another look at youth unemployment, this time considering the psychological ills that joblessness brings to young people. Thin...
Despite the economic downturn in the region, the political consequences and the incidence of social unrest in eastern Europe has been remarkably limited so far.
If the situation in the eurozone deteriorates further as the Italian general election gets nearer, there is a high risk of severe financial market turmoil that could push Italy back to that brink of financial and economic collapse where it found itself last November.
France's new president, François Hollande, has a strong political mandate, but very little room for manoeuvre.
Being part of the EU is central to how we in the UK create jobs, expand trade and protect our interests around the world. It allows us to be in a single market of some 500 million people, with a combined GDP of £11trillion (Euros), in which we can trade, travel and work freely.